Americans poised to vote against their own economic interests - again

Marc Acito photo boxAmerica is suffering from amnesia.

That's the only reason I can think of for the Republicans heading toward Congressional victory.

Sure, the Dems have had two years and the unemployment rate isn't getting any better. But what nobody in Washington wants to say (because nobody in America wants to hear it) is that it took eight years of Republican mismanagement to get us into this mess, it's going to take at least that long to get out.

We seem to have forgotten recent history. Remember the Clinton years? The economy was thriving. Then Bush and his robber baron buddies bankrupted us, leaving it for the Dems to clean up. But according to academics Nathan J. Kelly and Peter K. Enns, "Both the rich and the poor respond to rising inequality by shifting in a conservative direction."

And liberals have gotten scared. We're so afraid of being shouted down by right-wing bloviators calling us socialists that we don't speak up for what's best for our country.

The problem is not just that conservative policies don't work, it's where they lead. Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges lays it out very clearly:
The death of the liberal class is creating a power vacuum that speculators, war profiteers, and gangsters, often led by charismatic demagogues, are beginning to fill ... History has shown time and again that when the liberal class ceases to function, as happened in Tsarist Russia, Weimar Germany and the former Yugoslavia, it always opens a Pandora's Box of evils that infect the remnants of a civil society.
The issue America faces right now isn't that progressive policies have failed, it's that they haven't gone far enough.

Consider the following: When Franklin Roosevelt took office, the unemployment rate was 24.9%. So the public sector did what the private sector couldn't -- created jobs. Bridges got built, highways created; indeed, the America that seems to be crumbling right now was built by the Works Progress Administration.

Within four years, the unemployment rate had dropped to 14%.

Here's the good news. We can do it again. The WPA put out forest fires, it provided disaster relief. If we had it today, the spill in the Gulf would've been handled very differently. And by different I mean better.

Luckily, someone seems to be watching the History Channel. People like the Huffington Post's Dan Froomkin, Yale economist Robert Shiller, author Nick Taylor and the Economic Policy Institute.

All of them say what Democrat politicians are too freaked out to: that only liberal policies can put America back to work. We can pull ourselves up. Just like Bill Clinton's pants.

The election is just three weeks away. If you want to see a new prosperity, pass this article on to someone in a swing state. Together, we'll put the country on the road to recovery.

And that, my friends, is The Upside.

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